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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Jalan Tun Razak Roundabout

A couple of years ago, when my father's eyesight was a lot better, he could drive to town and back. He could even find his way to Kepong too. One incident around the changed multi - intersection at Jalan Tun Razak roundabout led him to Kajang and he had to make a big detour back to KL.

After that incident, poor father dare not venture to KL anymore. Can't blame him. Take a look at the very confusing Jalan Tun Razak roundabout. Not for the fainthearted driver !
Pengsan !!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Selfmade Bib

She caught me by surprise one day with her "See Mummy, See" call.
  If you've been with Amber, you'd know my attention seeking child is always asking me to see, hear and look at her until it's almost impossible to get something done without her interruption. 

This 'See Mummy, See ! Look' call is worth noting.

She took a plastic bag, strapped it on her arms but did some twist. I forgot how she twist the plastic bag but it was firm and tight enough not to fall off. She made a bib and said it's good to wear when she's eating to catch her falling food..

or when she feels like vomitting she has a ready bag.. *faint*
Like this ?

Happy Weekend !

Hotel Puri

I'd like to add on to Barbara's post on Hotel Puri.  We stayed over at Hotel Puri last weekend and I must say, this hotel is not like what it looks from the outside. Don't let the old shophouse facade fool you.

Step inside and you'll be surprised at the many courtyards

 and living halls
 lots of greens and plenty of running space for kids. There's even a museum ( no kidding !!! )
Hotel Puri is also the filming site for parts of  Mediacorp's  Little Nyonya. Hubs remembered part of the series, namely the first and last episode where the swiflets were flying around the house and that, was filmed at Hotel Puri. The hotel was a birds nest house before it was refurbished as a hotel but some swiflets came back.

Amber was first to see the swiftlets flying around the house and resting at their nest.

Cool eh ? Don't worry about birds dropping. I didn't see a single pool of bird-poo on the floor.

We stayed in the deluxe room for RM185 per night. The room was above my expectation. Clean and crispy duvets, glaring white bathroom tiles and wares and laminated flooring.. I heart laminated floorboards. Actually I was hesitant on Hotel Puri when I browsed their site and saw the yucky boring carpets telling tales of dustmites by the generations. Basically, I just hate carpets unless they are soft and white and I can spot any dirt, dust or spills and not many hotels can maintain clean carpets.
Oh.. the room comes with breakfast too. Nothing fancy but acceptable with porridge, nasi lemak, toasts and egg counter. Anyways, no worries.. I was hoping the breakfast would be bad and we could go for cendol or nyonya breakfast down the road but ... we stayed on for breakfast. Good deal eh ?

Our friends room wasn't so acceptable coz it smelled funny and the hotel staff couldn't detect the source of the stench but they upgraded my friend to a Junior suite.. Whoot !!!

Four poster bed (for pole dancing.. lol !) and a sofa bed.. wuah..... nice...
 Hmmm..... was thinking if I should lodge a complain too ?
 This room has flat screen tv. Nice. Nicer than our room's.. LOL
 With a bathtub too ..

While my friend and her husband moved their luggage to the junior suite, we watched after the kids. 
Joanne.. the kids were testing the steadiness of your double bed.. while you were away.. tee..hee..hee...

All's good in the hotel except the junior suite was located next to a stairway and my friend could hear people talking loudly and dragging their travel bags up and down the stairs. NOISY!  So, if you want to book a junior suite, just make sure it's not next to a stairway. I'm sure the staff would accomodate if you put in a request early. My slight complain was the noise from my neighbouring room. I had to walk to my balcony and bang on their toilet windows and I dare myself coz they don't have a balcony and can't see me from their toilet windows.. hehehehe..  Anyways, Hotel Puri is a boutique hotel restored from an old Peranakan house. Don't expect 5 or 6 star hotel standards but for the price, it's a good deal and enjoy the unique-ness.

That's Hotel Puri for our short getaway and we'll definitely be back.

p/s - another major major plus point. it's next to Jonker Street. Park your car at reserved hotel lots and walk to Jonker Street. You need not worry about the mad jam of driving into Jonker Street and the impossible feat of getting a parking lot on Saturday night !

The Multi Lingo Kid

This is too funny.
We had visitors from Perth last weekend, my friend Joanne and her family. Joanne left for Langkawi on Monday morning.

I told Amber Aunty Joanne will be leaving the following day, very early in the morning at 7am.

We were in the car, on way to dinner and suddenly she asked :

Aunty Joanne, tomorrow 7 o'clock you chang ying ah ??

We paused for 5 seconds and digested what she said.. and had a good laugh She thought 'chang ying' ie the mandarin word for 'fly' as in insect was the same as fly as in boarding an aeroplane.

That clearly shows someone wasn't paying attention in Mandarin class. Anyways... we had a good laugh !

Enzymes & Recycling

I'm sure I'm one of the many whose left with dozens or gazillions of mandarin orange leftovers from CNY. When I was small I used to love mandarin oranges I'm always eyeing on the wooden carton of teochew mandarin orange that my parents buy for the New Year. One carton for prayers and giving away as buah tangan leaving not many for own consumption. I think they comes in sizes of 112,96,72 or 56 orange per carton. U see how crazy I was ? I can remember the # of orange per carton and boy.. the aroma of an opened carton, NICE !

30 years forward, I don't look forward to mandarins anymore. Buying a box for CNY was just for customary sake, to pai nien or as a polite gesture to return to visitors. The company gives us a carton each year. Damn kiamsiap co. all we get is a carton of mandarins and a box of mooncakes.

Anyways..... the first few days of CNY, mandarins exchanged always fresh and tangy. I'll have 1 or 2 or just a few more, the most. The rest are kept in the fridge till after new year and thrown away when they look old and shriveled..

I started making garbage enzymes last year and these mandarins comes in handy. Along with some mandarins that I've collected from my sis and my kaffir limes, I made a big box of garbage enzymes. Enough to share with my family and wash my 6 toilets.. !!!

Just follow the 1:3:10 rule (1kg brown sugar, 3kg fruit and 10 liters water) and leave to ferment for 4 months, you'll have bottles and bottles of enzymes and the residue makes excellent fertilizers !

See ? I do my part to recycle and pledge to live sustainably too :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Goodies Galore !

My childhood friend from school was back to Malaysia. Her family migrated to Perth when she was in Form Two and it's remarkable that we still do keep in touch today, especially so in the recent years with the help of internet and emails, keeping in touch is only a click away. 

Sometimes I catch her online at night.. and we had a good laugh when realise both of us were whiling away leisurely on the internet coz we're waiting for our laundry to be done. Hilarious !

She brought back many goodies for me. Stuff I can't get here :

Cookie cutters :
  Shape of elephant, hippo and rhino

Biscuit cookie cutter with center designs.. great for jam filled cookies

Angel 3D cookie cutter 


 Christmas themed cookie cutter

premium tomato and passiofruit preserves

and an allergy free baking book for Amber :)

Thank you very much Ka Yean. Lovely having you and yours here and soon, hopefully, me and mine will go visit Perth !

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mental Arithmetics

Her mental arithmetic class is divided to 3 sections now. 

First it's the calculations with abacus :

Then, mental calculations, without abacus :
I had to give many stars to keep her motivated.. and a BIG HUGE STAR when she completes the page

Then it's the mental arithmetic without abacus or books, just by listening to teacher :
I like the way she writes the date and the big dots between the day, month and year.

Many moms told me it's pointless to send her to mental arithmetic now as she'll learn it in school, at Std 1.  We have our own reasons though, mental arithmetic stimulates the right brain and we hope to develop her mental abilities and improve her concentration and hoping she'll be less boh-tiam ! 

She's doing well despite crying foul over the pages and pages of homework each week. Be warned if you want to send your kids to mental arithmetics. A page of homework has 48 equations and the homework can go up to 5 pages per week.


Another sketch of hers. 

This is our house...
Our house has 3 windows ..

it's a sunny day...

but there's also some clouds and many birds flying..

our car is parked outside the house..
(very distorted looking car)

Wishing you a Happy Weekend and I hope to hear good nears from the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant. It has been a very sad and depressing week for all.

Little Ms Launderer

Guess what Ms Busybody is up to ?

She helped me do the laundry and handwashed her own clothes. I have the habit of handwashing new clothes. They look too pretty and nice to be sent to a tumultuous and maniac spin in the washing machine. but after 2 or 3 washes.. hantam-lah. .masuk washing machine jor !

She was a pile of her own CNY clothes for handwash and got herself busy. I let her be. Happy mommy and happy kid.
LLB  - look like busy...
but she's actually having fun getting herself all wet !

Wonder if she'll still want to help me to the laundry when she grows up ?  

I'll be happy if she can do her own laundry. My mom made me wash my own clothes since I was in secondary school. She said all girls should know how to iron and wash clothes. She also thinks it'll make me a better wife. That's the exact thoughts of my very traditional but doting mom. 

Yut Kee Moving Out

Yut Kee, the old Hainanese coffeeshop at Jalan Dang Wangi is one of our lunch haunt. I've been frequenting Yut Kee coffeeshop since my days of working at the bank nearby 20 years ago. Now, 20 years forward, my office is also within walking distance from Yut Kee. 

Hubs and I like to pop by on mornings when we are exceptionally early. We'll share a dried beef noodle and teh-si. Hubs will order an extra egg and toast. I'll pack a whole kaya swiss roll but stopped since Amber was diagnosed with egg allergy. Amber loves the kaya rolls and I'll be very cruel to be chomping down pieces after  pieces with the little one staring at me ... salivating .. :(

I saw in the Metro headlines last week about Yut Kee relocating. I'm glad they are only relocating to a stone's throw away and not moving out or worst, close shop. Read more here 
Jack, the bubbly specky guy who inherited the business from his father will be running the show again at the new location, which is just behind current Yut Kee. It'll never be the same again,even with same menu, chef and pricing. I like the current old kopitiam look, the old chairs and the crowded but airy coffeeshop.

If you are running out of place to eat this weekend, pop by for their famous pork roast with potatoes and apple sauce. Available only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for brunch.


Tempted ? 
I think I shall have roast pork for lunch today :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Of Passing Away and Death

Back in January, Amber attended a wake for the very first time. Her childminder's brother passed away suddenly. Amber had fond memories of him and hubs and I thought she should attend the funeral.

We knew it's not going to be an easy night. She'll ask lots of questions, neverending whys..

I explained to her gently, her friend, Wan Teng's father had passed away.
She asked why and the conversation went like that. ..

why pass away ? he sick ah ? die already ah ?
Yes, he passed away already. Oi oi already. Cannot wake up. Very sad.
Ahhh.. I know i know ! (earnestly).. there.. you send him to the hospital ah.. they put the oxygen thing.. then cannot die lor.
No, too late already. he has passed away.
why never send him to the hospital to put the mask ? (oxygen mask)
 Too late Amber. sometimes it's too late to send someone to a hospital.
Then ah.. pray to guanyin ma lar.. she will help him.
No, not that he didn't pray or guanyin didn't help but if a person is too sick, he will pass away.
take medicine la.. cannot help ah ?
cannot..  (at this point,, I kinda regretted telling her.. her 'CPU' was processing everything I say but a 4 year old cannot comprehend death)
so how, he oi oi cannot paii ah ? (paii is wake up in our hinghwa lingo)
yes, he will not wake up anymore, we'll bring you to see him and please don't ask anymore ok ?

During the wake, hubs asked Amber if she wanted to see Uncle Ah Keong for the last time. She wanted and so hubs carried her up. The little fart was not affected at all, probably still didn't quite understand death means eternity. Eternal loss.

All went well, sent our condolences and went home. I told her Uncle Ah Keong will be buried. Buried as in dig a hole and the box .. aka 'coffin' will be placed inside.

Days later.. she asked me..
Mama, Wan Teng's papa (Ah Keong) become skeleton already or not ?
Mama, Wan Tent's papa become like the Michael Jackson song Treeler already or not ??

she thought all buried humans will turn into zombies !

Such is the innocent (or not innocent) 4 year old !

This Belongs to Me !

I caught her at work one day ... writing down her name on her book..
I realised my little fart is growing up. She's very protective of her own stuff, her stationery, books and toys. 

She even knows where to write her name.

Please don't grow up too fast !

Little Ms Teacher

She was very good yesterday, at her abacus class. Did 2 page of work with little guidance and didn't want to go home. Well, she has good days and bad. Yesterday was a good day and I hope every other day is a good day too. She was the last student left when I picked her and she was playing with marker pens and whiteboard.

Teacher tested her with some mental equations.. I took some pics of her with my mobile phone. Here, she's using her index and thumb to do the mental equations.

Then she played teacher. Set up some equations for teacher and me.
 See how she writes '3' ?   She did it on purpose !

 and teacher taught her on long, she sets up long equations for us too.  If you notice, her equations always ends with a 'zero'....  9-9+10-10... and so forth...

I hope she continues her 'good days' more frequent.  I hate forcing her to finish her abacus homework!

Amber and family

I stumbled upon this photo in my laptop. These are part of her early sketches. She'll ask for paper and pencils whenever we travel and starts sketching stuff. This is her family, papa, mama and Amber.

No prizes for guessing who is who  :)                         

Hubs taught her to write date. 11-08-10.. I've kept her sketches in a box - Amber's sketches. I'm sure these will bring a smile to her face  .. 20 or 30 years on..

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 One of the very annoying habit Amber has is continuously sharpening her pencils. . with the conventional twist pencil sharpeners. The pencil lead gets sharpened, they break with her carelessness and she sharpens again, then break and she sharpens again... WITH DELIGHT !!!

I have a big pencil sharpener but I never let her use it, otherwise no amount of pencils will be enough. I stopped myself short at yelling another 'NO' when she wanted to use the big sharpener. I was reminded of myself, me, at primary school and how I yearned to sharpen pencils with a proper sharpener.

 I taught her how to use the sharpener and left her to the device. She had a good time, sharpening ALL her pencils and color pencils.

Do you allow your kids to sharpen their own pencils and color pencils ?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The School Trip

I received an invitation to the first school trip. This time, it's to the fire station and Domino's Pizza. My first reaction was .. no .. no pizza for her. I gently explained she can't have pizza. She can't take yeast, cheese or sausage but she interrupted. .  no .. no need to eat.. see people make pizza only ! Mummy.. can go or  not ? ....  she was very keen to go.
How could I say no ? *sigh*... I talked to hubs about it and we cannot be certain she'll not eat pizza. It's not a matter of trust but she's hardly 5  and I cannot expect a 5 year old to understand food science or read ingredients. What if they offer her bread sticks? What if she takes cheese flavoured fries. Anything can happen to kick her off her allergy treatment track. I certainly cannot expect the teacher to be responsible for her diet during the school trip when they have to manage dozens of kids. She missed the Vitagen factory trip  last year and  was jeered by her classmates for missing the trip (yes, they do that !!!  nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.. I am going to the Vitagen factory and you cannot go !!.. nyah nyah nyah...*SIGH* KIDS !!!) ...

I'm going with her.. Food inspector mummy will tag along.. .. visiting the Bomba should be fun !

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Allergy Updates

It's been months since i last posted on her allergy.. now where do I start ???
The last few months has been very tough BUT we are seeing light at the tunnel now.

Back on December 30th last year, we had her tested and the result were bad. The readings were :

Candida     10
Dust Mite   16
Milk            7

Eggs            4

her allergies came back with a vengeance and one by one came knocking at our doors. It was almost like CDME wishing us Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai ! I got slapped, hard. From what seemed like a hope of getting her free from allergy, we are now pushed to the deep end, having to start all over again. We ran though the items she had eaten over the past few days and singled out sausage and chicken nuggets as the main culprit. .. and wait.. that's not the end,

and she was also tested to be allergic to food coloring :

E110       4    Sunset Yellow
E102       4    Yellow No5 or tartrazine.

I was shocked with this finding. Most, if not, all orange and mango flavoured food will have coloring added and even a certain brand 'K' cooking oil has coloring.

Dr Wong was very concerned on her coloring allergy as most of our food are very badly labelled. The law doesn't require strict and precise label of coloring and most you can get out is "permitted additives and coloring added"

E110 and E102 is approved in most countries including Malaysia but it is banned in Norway and Austria. Tartrazine appears to create an overactivity in children and other reactions include itching and rhinitis.

My immediate concern was to control her food intake. How could I send the message across to the childminder ? That they are not to use cooking oil of certain brand and isn't a bit too much to ask when I've already given them a list of no-no's to follow ? Chinese New Year was coming close then and how am I to break the news to the inlaws ? Not to use a certain 'K' brand ? I know they keep a good stock of that brand too. What about dining out ? Should I ask first, what brand of cooking oil they carry  or should I snoop in the kitchen ?

I've been trained to read labels in supermarket and now I have to zoom in to 2 more items. You'd be surprised that most food contains coloring, including custard powder !

Whenever we had to dine out, I'd ask what cooking oil they use and I'd do it discreetly, I felt I'm being such a fussy pot to scrutinize in detail what she ingest. The last I wanted to hear was to be more 'cincai' and let her outgrow her allergies. If you had a child with itchy eyes and almost want to scratch her eyeballs out and always screaming ITCHEEEE in public, you'd know what I mean and not to mention the cracked and bleeding heels, leaving stains of blood on her socks ! I had to do something for the poor girl.

I couldn't control 100% of her food intake esp on the cooking oil part BUT I did the best I could. I provided the childminder with cooking oil, I'd ask first, what kinda oil the restaurants used whenever we dined out. Some looked at me as if I was from the Health Department doing some kinda checks but most of them were understanding when I explained that my daughter is allergic to certain cooking oil.

I control her sugar intake, no more sorbets and fruit juice unless freshly squeezed. Any snack she took, I'd tell her avoid yellow and orange color. No lemon or orange mentos, just pure mint and better still, no Mentos at all but she's just a kid, I'd allow a Mentos or two as an occasional treat.  No more lemon or orange tic-tac. Anything lemon, orange and mango flavour is out.

She's back on a course of probiotics, this time on a different routine. Wake up - take her diluted probiotics, wait for 30 minutes, then milk. It's crucial that we get the probiotics in on an empty stomach for effective absorbency by the guts. Dr Wong explained a weak gut tends to attract more allergies and suggested a longer course of probiotics. Our mistake was to put her off probiotics once she was cleared off candida couple of months ago.

I'm back on a cleaning frenzy, changing her bed linens every week and mopping the bedroom every alternate day. Not a difficult task if you have the right tools. I'm using the Japanese magic mop that absorbs dust, hair and dirt wonderfully. I really should blog about this wonder mop soon. The hubs is given the task to clean the air cond filter every other week.

I admit being slack when her allergy improved last August, the sheets weren't changed as frequent as they should be and the house was always messy. I kicked my butt off the lazy mode and evenings you'll find me as Ms Merry Maid at home, cleaning and dusting (and sometimes cursing housework too, when I'm not in the mood)

Ok, 2 months went by, and on her second check up on 19 Feb 2011, her results were :

Candida     0
Dust Mite   0
Milk           0
Eggs           2
E110          0
E102          0

what can I say ?? we were over the moon with the result. never mind the slight allergy in eggs , at least it's all downhill and I hope it'll continue to stay there and get buried and over with.

I can't exactly pinpoint out when she had eggs but it could be one of the dinners where the meat was coated with eggs. My in laws loves to dine at Dragon-i and Amber can whack 4 'xiao loong bao' without the skin of course but now, no more 'xiao loong bao' for her and she only has steamed chicken soup and white rice.

Despite her good readings, I showed Dr her cracked and bleeding heels. All these while, I thought it was the food allergy that caused the cracks but we were wrong again. Dr tested her again for rubber (latex) and confirmed she's allergic to rubber with a reading of 14.

We're not too concerned, as long as it's not food allergy. I've put away all her Crocs and rubber sandals. Been shopping for canvas shoes instead.

As long as she's on her way to recovery, I'm at peace.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bread Bread Bread - Yeast Free !!!!!!!

I was delighted when Irene shared her new discovery of yeast free bread with me. Her daughter Victoria and Amber are both allergic to yeast. That's a big thing for a growing up kid. That means no bread, buns, cream crackers, fatt kou, ma lai kou or any other kueh that's spongy! No bread - the comfort food when sick. No bread - to go with peanut butter. Simply no bread. Can you imagine life without bread ? Something so basic and simple ?

and for Amber, who lurvvvess Marmite yeast extract, it's torturing. I had to chuck away our big jar of Marmite to the bin when we discovered her allergy.

I quickly made my way to  Woods Macrobiotics Hanspeter Biobackerei to check their spread of offers ! I got some donuts, an pan bun and packs of dairy free soya chocolate. Amber loves the chocolate milk (soy version) treat and she polished the donut the same night :

 cinnamon donut
 red bean bun

Thanks Irene for sharing the discovery. Amber can now eat donuts and lots more food. No more boring rice cracker for her break time :D